Hooniversal Opinion: 2019 Detroit Auto Show

Detroit. Once one of the biggest auto shows in the country and the world, Michigan’s resident press event seems to be getting smaller and smaller with each turn of the calendar. Maybe it’s the cold, maybe it’s that other markets are more lucrative, maybe it’s that it’s Detroit in January; whatever it is, the attraction of unveiling an all-new car, truck, or SUV at the North American International Auto Show seems to dwindle as each year passes.

Not for 2019. This year, the automakers went big.

It was a show of heavy-hitters. Toyota brought the much-anticipated all-new Supra and Ford introduced the new big-power GT500. Dodge touted a new heavy-duty pickup with four-digit torque, Lexus brought some be-winged RC-Fs, and Subaru tormented us with the most powerful STI ever. Ford flaunted an all-new rear-wheel-drive Explorer with an available ST trim, and Cadillac fought to steal the spotlight back with an all-new three-row crossover. Though devoid of many large manufacturers, there was a ton of news from the 2019 NAIAS, but that didn’t stop domestic and foreign brands alike from bringing some headline-grabbing vehicles to the show.

As is tradition, your resident Hoons have opinions on these releases, for better or for worse.

2020 Toyota GR Supra

Finally. Finally, finally, finally. After one of the longest buildups of automotive history the fifth generation Toyota Supra is here. With looks that haven’t deviated much from the FT-1 Concept and holding true to classic sports car proportions, the car co-developed with BMW will hit the streets as a 2020 model boasting 335hp/365lb-ft. and a weight of around 3400 lbs. Pricing starts at $50,920 which puts it in a spot of tough competition, so it’ll be interesting to see how it fares. Two things are for sure: yes, it still has a turbocharged inline six-cylinder and, yes, we’re happy that the eon of being teased is finally over.

 

In 1993, the new Supra Turbo ripped apart every ZX, RX-7, 3000GT, and NSX. The non-Turbo model was compared to the E36 M3. By that measure this new Supra should be equally competitive with the new NSX, 10YO GT-R, or even the M3. But it isn’t. Furthermore, historically, the Supra has been kind of a luxury Grand Tourer. This new Supra is the size of the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ. I almost think that they Lexus RC and LC are more Supra than this. Then there is the fact that it’s basically a BMW, especially inside. The old Supra, every one of them, was rather bulletproof, which was part of its appeal, and this won’t be. And in the end BMW did Toyota dirty by announcing today that he Z4 if faster to to sixty miles per hour despite being heavier. Other than that, I’m sure it will be a lovely sports car and I’ll probably like it quite a lot when I finally get to drive it.

-Kamil Kaluski

It has a handful of very cool angles. But I have to say I’m not in love with the styling here. I really wish Toyota developed their own car. Right now, Akio Toyoda is leading his company to inject a fair bit of sporting character throughout both the Toyota and Lexus lineups. They don’t need BMW’s help on this one. I’m sure it will be a blast to drive… but I have zero emotional desire to ever own one.

-Jeff Glucker

Haters gonna hate. It’s weird in the schnoz but overall I really like it. Do I wish it had a stick? Sure. Do I wish it was less frumpy? Sure. Am I glad it exists? Hell yes. It’s like a beefed up FRS/GT86 in every regard, and though it’s a bit more fussy and heavier than ideal, it’s still great to have a Supra back on sale in the Toyota lineup. Now if only they’ll tell BMW to screw off and build the real performance variant we know they can. Know what would be even better though? This motor in the GT86.

-Ross Ballot

I feel like one of the few who is actually happy with the styling. The FT1 was a drop dead gorgeous show car and we all knew the production car was going to be significantly toned down, but I feel like it ended up being pretty faithful to the concept. It could have been much worse. But I am strangely disappointed by just how much of it is straight BMW. I knew all along it would be the same platform and same engines, but I wasn’t expecting it to also have the same interior. It even has “manufactured by BMW” on the VIN plate in the door frame! This was less of a cooperative effort and more of a “hey BMW, give us a Z4 sans body and we’ll do the rest”. Toyota said their GazooRacing guys went to town with the suspension and chassis, but I now have serious doubts that this will be anything but a prettier Z4.

-Greg Kachadurian

Being that I am a bit of a Toyota acolyte with the Land Cruiser and rallycross Corolla in the garage, the last thing that I want to see in the new Supra is any German influence. Totally understand the financial benefit of splitting the development between BMW & Toyota, but it does lessen the mystic of a new Supra. I hope they sell a bunch of them, but I’d rather have a GT-86 with a stick.

-Christopher Tracy

Hey is that a Supra?! I’m stoked this car is here. Finally, it’ll join the GT86 (if that sticks around) and begin to bring back the long-missed performance side of the Toyota brand. I’m curious about the price tag though. I feel like that $50k entry MSRP may stray a few potential buyers away. The architecture under the hood sounds dreamy yes, and I think it looks perfect, but I’m upset to see there’s not a manual. I wonder if in a few years, they’ll introduce a cheaper turbocharged four-cylinder Supra in the low $40k price range with say, 300 hp. I’m looking forward to seeing it in the Windy City in a few weeks. It’s good to see the Supra nameplate back in Toyota’s otherwise no-thrills lineup.

-Robby DeGraff

As even Akia Toyoda said, the new Supra is one of the worst kept secrets. Its been a long time to come, but so good to see it finally here. I really like the shape and can’t wait to see it in person. Yes, it’s different to the FT1 concept but hey who doesn’t say that they won’t make a hotter version down the track. Akia’s presentation at Detroit was one of the funniest I have seen in years. Nice touch adding Fernando Alonso to the presentation. We aren’t expected to see the car land here Down Under until late this year, only 300 will be available in the first year. They will be in big demand, I already know a couple of people in line.

-Joel Strickland

2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Ford Explorer

Replacing the outgoing model, Ford’s all-new Explorer swaps FWD in favor of its old RWD ways. It’s lighter, more technologically advanced, and has revised sheetmetal. It looks very much the same as the 5th gen vehicle, but that’s only on the surface. What we have here can tow more, gets better gas mileage, and even has more interior volume. On a numbers level it is in every way a better vehicle than the one it replaces, and, crucially, it powers the wheels that we want to be powered.

 

There’s something funky going on with this thing’s bodywork and I can’t quite place it. Is it the inverse angle of the roofline and beltline? Is it that we’ve become so familiar with the outgoing styling? Is it that it looks like a slightly stranger version of the one that’s been around for 8 years? As a whole it’s a relatively unoffensive redesign but some of the details bother me. The grille is awkward, and looks like it came off of an Ecosport; it’s both too big and too small at the same time. The taillights are too tall and narrow. The LEDs up front look like they were tacked on as an afterthought. And then there’s the interior, which, speaking of afterthoughts, has a screen that is integrated so poorly that it might as well be an iPad super glued to the center of the dash. The whole front of the interior is almost entirely devoid of design.

But it’s rear-wheel-drive so that should make up for everything, right? I am excited for this, since FWD CUVs are largely the death of “fun,” but even the ST trim doesn’t look like it promises much in the way of competing with the SRTs (and especially not the Macans/AMGs/Ms) of the world. Still, I’d rather have the RWD Explorer than the last-gen CUV one.

If I were a betting man, the new RWD platform will in some way be shared with the upcoming Bronco. Which is cool, because at least it’ll be RWD too.

Then again, the Fiesta ST died for this.

-Ross Ballot

I grew up on a ‘94 and ‘03 Explorer and have fond memories of both. I’ve been skeptical of the Explorer ever since they made it less of an old school SUV and more of a larger Edge. I hated it because it was unattractive (initially) and because they forced you to have a useless third row that was only good for taking up trunk space which could have been used for sport utility things instead. As a fan of the original Explorers I grew up on, I almost felt betrayed by it. It was a minivan for people who were too insecure to actually own one.

But to their credit, Ford read the market perfectly. I have a little road trip experience in one I had as a rental and I can’t deny the cabin space and the ride quality were awesome. It’s a great family vehicle that isn’t a minivan and I can’t believe how many of these things they sell. So in my mind, Ford hasn’t done much to really make me hate the new Explorers any less. But they did everything they needed to ensure it remains the second biggest cash cow in the lineup.

But can we talk about that center screen? Just because Tesla and Ram turned their screens vertically doesn’t mean you have to as well, Ford. That would piss me off every time I hop in.

-Greg Kachadurian

Winner. That’s what this is going to be for Ford, a winner. It’s roomy, nicely finished and efficient. By roomy, I mean that if offers a bit of space behind the third-row seat. It also looks great. It shows that Ford is trying.

-Kamil Kaluski

Looks like a nice evolution of the Explorer line. I’m happy to see it return to a RWD/AWD platform, as that can lend itself to serious fun off-road. Imagine if they built an Explorer Raptor? They won’t but that sounds WAY more interesting to me than an Explorer ST. And you know they’d sell every one they built.

-Jeff Glucker

Alright, Jeff has a point…an Explorer Raptor would be badass. Everybody has an off-road worthy pickup these days, but an off-road SUV would be killer. But that’s what the Bronco will be, no?

-Ross Ballot

Cool. When’s the Bronco coming?

-Christopher Tracy

Seconding what Chris said above. Give me the Bronco, though I’m glad to see the Explorer resort back to more of its trucky-roots and utilize a RWD platform. The center stack’s MASSIVE screen is ridiculous though.

-Robby DeGraff

I also agree with Jeff and Ross, the Explorer Raptor would be awesome, but even making an ST version of the Explorer is a cool move in my book, and this one looks amazing. I am a massive fan of sports SUV, its just a shame that Ford Australia has already ruled out bringing the Edge ST and Explorer ST to Aus. But with our import rules changing, you will be able to bring one in but it will have to be converted to RHD and that is not a cheap exercise.

-Joel Strickland

Cadillac XT6

Desperate to fill the fullsize crossover-sized void in its lineup, Cadillac has introduced an all-new CUV with three rows of seating. Dubbed XT6, the new vehicle will be positioned in the lineup above the XT4 but also so that it doesn’t detract from the Escalade’s flagship prominence. As opposed to the rear-drive body-on-frame Escalade, the XT6 will be front-wheel-drive with optional all-wheel-drive and more traditionally car-like in its unibody construction. A Sport trim will be available and the sole motor as of this writing is the well-known 310-horsepower V6.

 

It looks like a Subaru Ascent with a Cadillac XT4 front end. Platform sharing might cut costs, but it’s time for Caddy to be more V and less Chevy. Might be good for the brand’s bottom line, but it’s not great for making the company stand out. I miss the original SRX; rear-wheel-drive would have done the XT6 well in competing with the new Explorer.

-Ross Ballot

I don’t care about this one… at all. Cadillac has some serious hits and misses. I hope Lincoln eats their lunch in this space.

-Jeff Glucker

We’re about to see just how brainwashed buyers in the CUV space are. It has significantly less power than the Navigator, lacks some of Cadillac’s flagship technology like Supercruise, and is just kinda meh with the styling (but not terrible). I wonder how many buyers will care that they can get literally anything else in this segment and be happier?

-Greg Kachadurian

This was honestly for me a  “Wait, where the hell did this come from?” feeling when I saw images of the XT6 float across Twitter minutes after it bowed. The Escalade has a strong following and I have a few doubts this new three-row crossover will sell well. Does Cadillac need this? No. I’d rather have the CT6 than this.

-Robby DeGraff

Big fan of the Cadillac SUV’s, so adding another to the range is a win in my book, I love the current generation of Cadillac styling and the XT6 is a good looking thing in my book, looks like I have my next rental car when I am next in the states.

-Joel Strickland

Lexus LC Convertible Concept

All but a production model with a “Concept” designation, a droptop version of Lexus’ concept-car looking LC luxury coupe debuted in Detroit to further the brand’s reach. Selling a convertible version of the LC makes perfect sense as an offering to compete with the Mercedes SLs of the world, and removing the roof doesn’t do anything to hamper the futuristic styling.

 

A stunner. I need to see this one in person. [Note: I did, it looks great]

-Jeff Glucker

Fahwking gawgheous. Seriously, this doesn’t look like it could be executed better. The Predator maw was awkward for a whole but now it just works. And the LC’s design, especially with the top down, puts it into an elite category.

-Ross Ballot

At a local press event I saw the LC coupe parked next to the Aston Martin DB11. I couldn’t decide which one was better looking. I was kind of in awe, not so much that they were both great looking cars but that the Lexus could be that great looking of a car. It looks much better in person than in pics. I was so floored that I forgot to snap a picture. Making the LC into a roadster is the most obvious choice Lexus ever made.

-Kamil Kaluski

When I was shooting photos of the LC coupe a few months ago, I nearly drained my camera’s battery in awe over how gorgeous this production car is. It’s literally a concept car you can drive off the dealership lot. Lexus did a “hold my beer,” and dropped its top. Jesus, this is a beautiful car.

-Robby DeGraff

Lexus this is a massive win in my book, I expect to see a lot more of these on the roads now there is a convertible version. Like Robby, I had fun shooting a LC, not too long ago. It photographs really well and I can only imagine how good the convertible version will look in camera.

-Joel Strickland

2020 Lexus RC F & RC F Track Edition

To keep up with a never-slowing market Lexus made a slew of upgrades to its RC F coupe and added a higher performing version as well. The refreshed RC F gets hollow half shafts out back, a smaller/lighter intake manifold, and a smaller air conditioning compressor. The 5.0L V8 now makes 472hp/395lb-ft. (+5/+6) and the car gets launch control as standard equipment. Track Editions get carbon fiber canards, roof, fixed rear wing, and hood. With its BBS wheels, it comes in 176 lbs lighter than the outgoing model.

 

I don’t know if a little weight and a slightly more power will turn this into track day (bro) car.

-Kamil Kaluski

It won’t, but at least it gives the car a little more cred and a refreshed set of legs to stand on until (and if) the next one comes out in a few years.

-Ross Ballot

The RC F is a cool looking car and an entertaining machine. I don’t care for the looks of this track edition though, as I think it’s not in line with the grand-touring nature of the RC-F. Still… that 5.0-liter is fun, sounds great, and dropping weight on this thing while adding aero should make it a screamer around a track.

-Jeff Glucker

This looks like a good time. And even though the Lexus grille is somewhat growing on me, I can’t help but wonder how stunning this would look without it.

-Greg Kachadurian

Would look even better if it were 90% the size and weight of the current car…

-Ross Ballot

Ross should take a look at the new Supra.

-Kamil Kaluski

I have, and I like it. But the RC F has a V8 that the Supra never has and never will. And just imagine how great that 5.0 would be in something the size of the Supra…

-Ross Ballot

Got to agree with Ross on that one, the Supra would be awesome with one of Lexus’s V8’s under the bonnet. I think Lexus should offer a rear seat delete in a Track option, just to help with some weight loss. I love the F Sport series Lexus’s and look forward to seeing the new versions down under, hopefully Ill get chance to get behind the wheel of them in the future.

-Joel Strickland

2020 VW Passat

Instead of a totally new vehicle on the widely-used MQB platform, the refreshed Passat uses an updated version of the existing chassis. Most notable for the 2020 Passat is the updated exterior design and an updated interior that matches the styling with that of its stablemates. Power and drivetrains are largely unchanged.

 

Yawn.

-Ross Ballot

Looks nice on the outside. Then I looked at the interior and… it’s exactly the same as the outgoing Passat. I guess that’s what VW thinks sells.

-Kamil Kaluski

Okey doke.

-Jeff Glucker

Neat.

-Greg Kachadurian

Aren’t sedans dead?

-Christopher Tracy

Whoa der guys (strong Wisconsin accent). I dig it, I think the new Jetta is great and I’m glad the Passat saw a refresh too because the outgoing model was getting rather boring. Now I’m heading to Photoshop over my lunch break to skew together a hypothetical wagon version.

-Robby

Cool Story

-Joel Strickland

2020 Mustang Shelby GT500

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

This is one of the cars we’ve been waiting for. The GT500 debuted in Detroit with a 5.2L supercharged V8 and a brand-new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox from renowned transmission brand Tremec. The top-tier performance variant of the ‘Stang gets the looks to match its output and the accompanying 16.5” front Brembo rotors to help it stop. Power will be over 700hp, but the official figures have yet to be released.


Showing this car and not giving the horsepower number is like your partner going down on you and then stopping 20 seconds before you finish. Yes, the GT 500 is awesome but it’s all worthless without some numbers. I loved the GT350R and this is the same formula but with less flat plane and more blower. The DCT is kind of a surprise here – some will cry about saving the manuals but it’s the obvious choice.

-Kamil Kaluski

They must not have final certification on the engine, hence the lack of an official horsepower figure. There’s no way they wouldn’t put that number out there, if they had it official. Regardless, this Shelby GT500 is an absolute monster. While the Mustang wins at dealership sales, it’s the Camaro that crushes it on the race track. This Shelby GT500 helps balance the scales a bit.

-Jeff Glucker

I am sooooo pumped about this. It would have been easy to throw on a supercharger and just sell another straight line car with more power than it can handle like GT500s of yesteryear, but this one has some serious sports car chops to it and it should be an absolute monster on a road course. I can’t wait to see what it can do. I will say though, I really don’t like the black cross bar in the grille. That’s just not a look that I’m crazy about. Body-colored would look so much better. Shit… I wanna get a third job now.

-Greg Kachadurian

I…don’t care? The horsepower wars are getting old for me. I can’t help but imagine this will weigh more than the GT350R, and that’s a shame. I’d rather see a Mustang down near 3200 lbs and with the 460-hp 5.0L Coyote engine. Now that would be something fun. As-is, these 700hp+ monsters are really for track and bragging rights only. No fun for us mere mortals.

-Ross Ballot

Can someone explain to Ross about the HOON in Hooniverse? Kthxbi.

-Kamil Kaluski

Hooning is only fun if you don’t die. Wait, wow, am I being the buzzkill here? Fuck it, give the GT500 a thousand horsepower.

-Ross Ballot

Car show parking lots just got a hell of a lot more dangerous.

-Robby DeGraff

I love it, we knew it was coming and it was well worth the wait, I love the aggressive front end and oh that sound is orgasmic, if you haven’t watched the Ford video of it on track/road then you must because of the sound of that flat plane crank and the supercharger is soooo goooood. One of the local workshops in Melbourne is already taking orders for customers to be able to import these GT500’s into the country and then convert them to RHD. Now if only I can win Powerball this week, Ill take one in Blue.

-Joel Strickland

2019 Ram Heavy Duty

1,000lb-ft. The four-digit torque number is the big story here, with Dodge’s Heavy Duty truck being the first consumer-grade pickup to break the three-digit barrier. The top-tier 6.7L Cummins turbodiesel in the 3500-series now produces 400hp and, still shocking to type, 1000lb-ft. of torque via a motor that’s 60 pounds lighter. Ram debuted the new powerplant alongside its all-new HD trucks, or, rather, the all-new trucks alongside the headline-creating motor. The lowly 370hp/850lb-ft. engine is still available but the other big number is the 3500’s towing capacity: 35,100 lbs. Or, more importantly, 100 more than the comparable Ford.

 

The Ram 1500 is my new favorite pickup. The 2500/3500 uses the same great cab but adds one thousand torques!! One. Thousand. That is awesome is every meaning of the word. The HD line is getting upgraded air suspension and the Mega Cab, too. Ford should worry. But GM shouldn’t worry – they have their own issues.

-Kamil Kaluski

I’ve wondered who would come to market first with a production truck cranking out 1,000 pound-feet. I should’ve figured it would be Ram, but I assumed it would be a future Super Duty. That 1000 lb-ft mark is a serious selling point for hardcore truck bros. Hell, it’s impressive for non-truck enthusiasts.

-Jeff Glucker

No normal person and non-commercially certified driver should be towing 35,000 pounds, plain and simple. The towing ratings of these trucks are absurd, so I’m glad to see the capacities increase by only small margins now. It’s time to tone this shit down already, but that said… 1000lb-ft. is pretty cool.

-Ross Ballot

Can someone explain to Ross about the HOON in Hooniverse? Kthxbi.

-Kamil Kaluski

I’m going to drive up to Boston and do a 1,000 lb-ft burnout in Kamil’s street.

-Ross Ballot

I just spent a week in a fully-loaded Ram 1500 Limited on test and I’m entirely convinced it’s the best pickup truck on sale right now. Kamil, we agree on something! It’s perfect, and apart from its lackluster MPG returns I cannot pick out anything negative about this truck, therefore I’m carrying all of that praise and expectations over to this new Heavy Duty model. Can we just pause, pour a mug of coffee, and process these two numbers really quick? 1,000 pounds-feet of torque and 35,000 pounds. That is bonkers, and I’m glad Ram was the first to get there with these bragging rights. Ford has some catching up to do, both on the half-ton and heavy-duty fronts.

-Robby

One day I need to drive one of these Trucks, just to see what the experience is all about.

-Joel Strickland

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The modified #Kia Tellurides look pretty sweet

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2020 Kia Telluride

Aiming to take its share of the once-again-expanding large SUV market, Kia has brought forth its counterpart to the Hyundai Palisade with its first-ever Telluride. Though the brand calls it “midsize” it’s hardly so, with seating for up to eight and a body to match. Power is from a 3.8L V6 making 291hp and can be sent through optional all-wheel-drive.

 

I really wish it made at least 300 horsepower. However, I do think it’s a sharp looking full-size machine. I’ll reserve judgement until I actually drive this one.

-Jeff Glucker

This is a good effort from Kia, much better than the Palisade. It’s distinctive but still safe enough to not stray wildly from the market it’s competing in. Well done. Curious to see how it fares when put against its competitors.

-Ross Ballot

I like the Telluride a lot. Being a father of four kids and two dogs, the bigger SUVs will always catch my eye and I like what I’ve seen of the modded-mall crawler versions. My concern is that with the third row in place there is as much cargo space as that of a Toyota Highlander, and it’s not enough. Taking the stroller apart every time you load it in the car can get monotonous.

-Christopher Tracy

I love it and think this (and Hyundai’s Palisade) is a smart move. I was daydreaming yesterday about “overlanding” one. Give one to Chris Tracy and he’ll go cuckoo with it.

-Robby DeGraff

Its something that has been missing from Kia’s line up a large SUV, if its built anything like the rest of the current Kia range, it will be a massive winner in my book. I really hope Kia bring them down under as I might seriously consider looking at putting one in my driveway permanently.

-Joel Strickland

Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept SUV

With Velar-like styling, Infiniti showed an all-electric crossover that will supposedly lead the way for the brand’s design language going forward. Light on tech specs, the QX Inspiration has all-wheel-drive and is, most importantly, fully electric.

 

Hehehehehehe… it didn’t make it out on the stage during the presentation. Womp womp.

-Jeff Glucker

Major buzzkill with the car shitting itself as Jeff mentioned above. Also, that face…yikes.

-Ross Ballot

Hyundai Elantra GT N Line

To cover a wider breadth of performance and pricing within its lower-end models, Hyundai has introduced the N Line. First available on the Elantra GT, the new trim replaces the Elantra GT Sport, in turn bringing a slightly hotter version of essentially the same car to market. Stiffness of the chassis and mounts are up which allows for sway-bar size to go down, but power from the 1.6L turbo-4 is unchanged at 201hp/195lb-ft. A 6-speed stick or 7-speed DCT are available. Pricing starts at $24,185.

 

Cool! Affordable sporty machines are always very welcome around these parts.

-Jeff Glucker

Nobody is going to buy this.

-Greg Kachadurian

Nope, because the actual N exists and people will either not give a half of a shit and get the base model or will care enough to buy the N. I’m absolutely in favor of this existing but don’t expect many to actually hit the streets.

-Ross Ballot

Right, no one buys the WRX because the STI exists. No one buys the GTI because the Golf R exists. No buys the Civic Si because the Civic Type R exists. No one buys the BMW M550i because the M5 exists. Okay, I maybe off on that last one but you get my point. I think these will be great daily drivers for enthusiast drivers who own some garage queens or proper race cars.

-Kamil Kaluski

Kamil…has a point. Shit. I hate when that happens.

-Ross Ballot

Take my money, I think the Elantra GT is a great package to begin with. Adding a more enthusiast-ready powertrain setup to it makes it more likeable on my hot hatch radar.

-Robby DeGraff

I am interested to see if we get this in Aus, but currently, the i30N is killing it down under and even the i30 is SR a cool spec car, not sure how well the Elanta version would sell here but hey I could be wrong.

-Joel Strickland

Subaru WRX STI S209

Subaru brought its S209 to the NAIAS, a change from the norm because, wait for it, it’s actually going to be sold here. A top-tier WRX STI has never before been sold in the ‘States, so the lucky few who scoop up one of the 200 units slated for U.S. sales are in for a real treat. Building even further on the Type RA, the newest in the S-series of cars gets the most powerful engine ever put in a production Subaru with 341hp from its somehow-still-alive EJ-series motor. The S209 also gets new fenders, front canards, and a model-specific rear wing. A carbon fiber roof and 19×9” BBS wheels are also part of the package in what very well may be the swan song for the current-gen STI.

 

Fifteen years ago we all wanted all the JDM stuff possible. Now we get them and we ask why. As in why does this overpriced S209 even exist?

-Kamil Kaluski

Because it’s fucking incredible. Yes, it will cost too much. But it is the current pinnacle of WRX STI performance. I thought the Type RA was the best STI I’ve driven, even with the $50k pricetag. This one will be more expensive. And it should drive a bit better, especially with that extra oomph. Everyone will talk smack against its price tag. But it’s likely to compete with vehicles costing just as much… hell, it might be faster around the track.

-Jeff Glucker

I’d rather they spend the money on dropping the old STI engine into the BRZ.

-Kamil Kaluski

Turns out if you expect nothing from Subaru they’ll actually exceed expectations. I was anticipating an overpriced Type RA with the same 300-ish HP it’s been making since the beginning of time. I’m glad they actually did something crazy with the new WRX for once. Consider me a fan, even if it’s so limited I’ll probably never see one on a track.

-Greg Kachadurian

Ugh. I’m torn. The S209 will perform incredibly, and woohoo they’re finally selling forbidden fruit here, but it’s going to be way too expensive and be way too rare for me to actually care. Awesome in concept, but I’m slightly let down by the execution. And I’m absolutely ready to see a new engine in the STI.

-Ross Ballot

I want to do what Kamil is talking about. STi engine in BRZ for me, please.

-Christopher Tracy

Yes, for the love of God, I’d also rather see an STi engine in the BRZ. It’s a fantastic platform and open door for it. Get with it, Subaru.

-Robby

Not gonna happen, guys. I think that development money went into bringing the Supra to market, or more likely into marketing for teasing the new Supra.

-Ross Ballot

Yep another vote for the STI engine into a BRZ, and can I have mine in the Subaru USA new 555 Tribute livery. Its nice to see the S2** series still running, its just a shame we will never see them in Aus. Please Subaru prove me wrong.

-Joel Strickland

C8 Corvette Zora

The mid-engine Corvette we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. With a longer buildup than even the Supra, NSX, LFA, Jeep pickup, and so on, this has been nearly as long in the making as has the Corvette itself. Debuting initially with the base model, the C8 utilizes the C7’s LT1 mated to either a seven-speed manual gearbox or a revised version of GM’s ten-speed auto. With its rear-mid layout, the engine sits mostly above but also somewhat in front of the rear wheels which should help drastically in putting down power…just ask Porsche. Followed sometime thereafter will be the Grand Sport. Though a release date hasn’t been set the Grand Sport variant will also make use of existing hardware in its first year, borrowing a refreshed version of the LT4 (with amends made to assure cooling won’t be a problem) and sending power to the rear wheels via 335-section rear tires. The real story here is the Z06. Most notable for taking the Corvette to an all-new realm with the introduction of turbos and hybrid power, the twin-turbo LT0 eight-cylinder nestles two 35mm snails in the V and makes a whopping 765 horsepower and 775 lb-ft. of torque, making for output right where the prior ZR1 was even before adding electric to the mix. The chassis-mounted batteries throw an additional 150hp to the front wheels and can be diverted to either side based on what’s being sensed by the car’s advanced traction systems. Chevy has yet to release the ZR1 we know is coming, but they’ve come out swinging with the C8. Stay tuned to see how it fares against its competitors.

Or not. Because, you know, they haven’t released it yet.

 

The hover array is pretty slick for city driving. Get above the traffic. Also, I really like the optional L6 autonomous driving mode. Still, would’ve been good if they kept the price under $250,000. Oh well, welcome to the new class of megacar.

-Jeff Glucker

This is huge. After decades of painstaking research, someone’s finally putting the groundbreaking turbo encabulator into production. I’m looking forward to this one.

-Greg Kachadurian

It’s incredible. General Motors stole the show with this one. I mean electric wirelessly charging self-driving OHC V8 Corvette. Gotta say, I didn’t see that coming. The unveiling of this amazing vehicle just shows how well General Motors is doing – great products, amazing R&D, best styling in the industry, all reasonably priced with the average hard working American in mind.

-Kamil Kaluski

How long until the C9 rumors start?

-Ross Ballot

I hear the C9 will have two turbo encabulators.

-Greg Kachadurian

Two 35mm snails? The lag won’t be an issue…

-Christopher Tracy

Guaranteed this will be the car plastered across posters hanging up in the bedrooms of today’s adolescent. I cannot wait to see a future ALMS-ready version of it.

-Robby DeGraff

The 6 wheel version will be the one to get, good to see the someone following the Tyrrell F1 idea into a road car.

-Joel Strickland

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And that’s a wrap on the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. It’s the last NAIAS to take place in the dreary Michigan winter as next year the show moves to a summer date, but that should be better for all attending and will likely be a larger draw for automakers as well. What do you think of this year’s reveals? Sound off in the comments to let us know.

By |2019-01-18T05:53:58+00:00January 16th, 2019|Car Shows, Detroit Auto Show|12 Comments

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